By Shelley Skuster // Guest Writer
Saying, “Yes” to adoption isn’t an easy decision.
And it’s certainly not a decision anyone should take lightly.
Here are five questions to ask yourself before deciding if adoption is a good option for your family:
1. Why do I want to adopt?
There are many reasons people choose to adopt.
Some families don’t consider whether they can have biological children, while others struggle through years of infertility. And some people simply feel compelled to adopt based on religious or personal beliefs.
If you’re leaning toward adoption after infertility, it’s important to grieve the loss of having a biological child before moving forward.
Adopting a child does not cure the brokenness experienced with infertility. Take time to process the feelings associated with the loss of biological children, and make sure adoption isn’t a backup plan or a “second best” option.
2. Am I ready to be a parent?
No doubt about it, raising a child is a lifelong commitment.
Spend some time self-reflecting on your lifestyle: Do I have the time, financial stability and security it takes to raise a child?
Then ask yourself whether you have the time and energy to parent a child who has experienced the profound (sometimes traumatic) loss of his/her biological family.
Recognizing your strengths as a parent before bringing a child home can help you better prepare for the harder conversations down the road.
3. Do I have a support network?
Consider your circle of friends and family: Are they supportive of your choice to grow your family through adoption?
If you have other people in your network who have adopted, ask them for tips and honest advice about the process.
Other adoptive families can prove to be an invaluable resource as you navigate the process yourself.
4. What type of adoption am I comfortable with?
Before deciding what route you want to pursue, you may want to ask yourself these questions:
Do you live in a diverse community with a variety of friends from different ethnic backgrounds who would be great models for a child in a transracial adoption placement?
Do you have a heart for older children in the foster care system?
Or do you seek to add to your family via a newborn baby born in the US?
It’s also important to consider your comfort level with open adoption versus closed adoption. Make sure to do your research before deciding how you feel about open adoption, however. Research shows strong benefits of open adoption for all members of the adoption triad (adoptee, birth family, and adoptive family).
5. Have I done my research?
Ask adoption professionals for references and research agency reviews online.
Take some time to think about what path you’re most comfortable with, and ask a lot of questions.
When it comes to the adoption process, there are no dumb questions.
Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist turned stay-at-home mom. She’s the writer behind This Family’s Journey, a candid blog about surviving infertility and the privilege of being an adoptive mom. Shelley is a well-known adoption advocate in Iowa who enjoys spending time with family and friends, a strong cup of coffee, and the occasional happy hour. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook!